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Social learning from public engagement: dreaming the impossible?

Social learning from public engagement: dreaming the impossible?
Social learning from public engagement: dreaming the impossible?
Learning that transcends participation processes is critical if public engagement is to translate into a legacy of enhanced environmental citizenship. However, a lack of empirical evidence has limited discussion to date to largely 'aspirational' claims. This paper offers the first rigorous examination of whether public participation does generate beyond-process social learning. Initially we review the literature on public participation and environmental citizenship to identify the key dimensions of social learning. We then re-visit a well-worked case study of an innovative public engagement process on the Hampshire waste strategy from the 1990s. Approximately one third of the original participants have been interviewed to identify whether and how the experience had a lasting effect on them. Key methodological difficulties are discussed, not least the analytical difficulties of attributing learning to a process that happened ten years previously. However, we argue that there is evidence that both instrumental and communicative learning have taken place, and conclude by identifying key areas that require further research.
social learning, public engagement, deliberation, waste management, environmental citizenship
0964-0568
701-716
Bull, Richard
32073150-b6f7-4559-a522-9c848ab98743
Petts, Judith
c2b0c58d-c78d-4f2e-9bec-fa4e23d72ef6
Evans, James
42fa9c4b-4a58-4fd0-bb86-b55bcdda1213
Bull, Richard
32073150-b6f7-4559-a522-9c848ab98743
Petts, Judith
c2b0c58d-c78d-4f2e-9bec-fa4e23d72ef6
Evans, James
42fa9c4b-4a58-4fd0-bb86-b55bcdda1213

Bull, Richard, Petts, Judith and Evans, James (2008) Social learning from public engagement: dreaming the impossible? Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 51 (5), 701-716. (doi:10.1080/09640560802208140).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Learning that transcends participation processes is critical if public engagement is to translate into a legacy of enhanced environmental citizenship. However, a lack of empirical evidence has limited discussion to date to largely 'aspirational' claims. This paper offers the first rigorous examination of whether public participation does generate beyond-process social learning. Initially we review the literature on public participation and environmental citizenship to identify the key dimensions of social learning. We then re-visit a well-worked case study of an innovative public engagement process on the Hampshire waste strategy from the 1990s. Approximately one third of the original participants have been interviewed to identify whether and how the experience had a lasting effect on them. Key methodological difficulties are discussed, not least the analytical difficulties of attributing learning to a process that happened ten years previously. However, we argue that there is evidence that both instrumental and communicative learning have taken place, and conclude by identifying key areas that require further research.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 18 August 2008
Published date: September 2008
Keywords: social learning, public engagement, deliberation, waste management, environmental citizenship
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 170445
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/170445
ISSN: 0964-0568
PURE UUID: b2ff844c-96de-41fb-b0b4-6f5fc3537ae2

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Jan 2011 16:03
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:17

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